But this week Scot McKnight, recognized authority on the New Testament and professor in Religious Studies at North Park University, reminds us why evolution remains alive and well. McKnight discusses the recent meeting in New York City of leading Christians and the need to promote evolutionary thought. McKnight cites Dennis Venema’s evolutionary apologetics as an example of what is needed.
In one example Venema repeats the scientifically bogus, theological argument for human-chimpanzee common ancestry based on the human chromosome #2. You can read more about the problems with this evidence here, here and here.
The bottom line is that the human chromosome #2 evidence allowed evolution to dodge a bullet. It is a gross misrepresentation of science to claim this as evidence for common ancestry any more than any other similarity. We share similar a body plan with the chimp also. So what? A similarity does not demonstrate an evolutionary relationship.
But as always the “So what” in evolutionary thought comes from theology, not science. As Venema concludes:
What makes shared synteny for humans and chimpanzees challenging from an anti-common descent viewpoint is that there is no good biological reason to find the same genes in the same order in unrelated organisms, and every good reason to expect very different gene orders. … In summary, should God have wished to avoid the appearance of common ancestry between humans and chimpanzees, there seem to have been many gene orders and chromosome structures available to Him to use for either species. … While this pattern makes perfect sense in light of common ancestry and acts as an important independent test of phylogenies, it continues to puzzle those who attempt to explain life apart from evolution.
When Venema explains that “there is no good biological reason to find the same genes in the same order in unrelated organisms” he is commenting on creation. It is a religious argument, not a scientific argument. An argument that McKnight has precisely the right expertise to dissect.
Amidst all of the scientific jargon lies religion at the steering wheel. It all sounds so technical, but like the rudder of a ship, religion is firmly in control. Which reminds us of those prescient words from the brother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
James’ words about the tongue reminds us of religion. It brings about many good things, but it also brings about lies.
I have no idea if the human and chimp genomes share a common naturalistic origin, but I do know religion when I see it. The evolutionary argument, as reiterated here by Venema, is about God, not science. Evolution is not a scientific finding, it is a religious lie. Perhaps we evolved, perhaps we didn’t, but the science indicates the latter.
Religion drives science, and it matters.